Miguel Cotto landed on all fours when he was knocked down by Manny Pacquiao in the fourth round, which was the beginning of the end for the Puerto Rican. Photo / Chris Cozzone-FightWireImages.com
Manny Pacquiao: The Filipino marvel has drawn more comparisons to the greatest fighters who ever lived after another spectacular performance against Miguel Cotto on Saturday in Las Vegas. And deservedly so. He is dominating his era as few fighters ever have. The fact he has been a force in seven divisions is ridiculous. I still have trouble comparing him to the likes of Henry Armstrong, Sugar Ray Leonard or Muhammad Ali. That’s probably because he remains active, which doesn’t provide us with the proper perspective on his career. I also believe he must meet a monumental challenge before we sign off on his all-time status: He must meet and beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. Then it would be very difficult to say he’s not on the level of an Armstrong, Leonard or Ali.
Miguel Cotto: Cotto looked fantastic for two-plus rounds but it was all downhill after Pacquiao put him down in the third and fourth rounds, the second time hurting him badly. He didn’t absorb the kind of beating he took from Antonio Margarito because he backpedaled for most of the fight but his face looked much as it did post-Margarito in the end, bruised, swollen and bloodied. He has nothing to be ashamed of, particularly after showing the courage to continue fighting even when his cornermen – including his father – suggested he call it quits. Cotto is nothing if he’s not a warrior. I say the Cotto who stood toe to toe with Pacquiao in an amazing second round can still beat almost any fighter in or near his weight class. The question is whether he can still be that fighter after a second beating.
Pacquiao vs. Mayweather: The fight probably will happen for one reason: The enormous amount of money both fighters would make. And the fight should be made. This is an unusual opportunity to pit the two best fighters in the world against one another, which would leave no doubt as to whom is No. 1. It would be Leonard-Hearns or De La Hoya-Trinidad, a fight that would generate tremendous interest even among casual fans. The downside is that it might be a boring fight. Mayweather will try to do to Pacquiao what he did to Juan Manuel Marquez, outbox him without taking many risks. The result could be a dud, which would be bad for the sport after monumental hype.
Pacquiao-Shane Mosley: This matchup wouldn’t generate the kind of money Pacquiao-Mayweather would but it probably would be a much more-entertaining fight. Mosley would match Pacquiao’s speed, power and energy, which could make for unbelievable drama. Of course, the timing isn’t perfect now because Mosley is scheduled to fight Andre Berto on Jan. 30. Pacquiao will fight either in March or May, depending on how his political aspirations play out. March probably would be too early for Mosley; May would be doable. I think Pacquiao will opt for Mayweather if they can come to terms. Mosley would be a nice backup option.
Pacquiao-Marquez: “Worst” might not be the most-appropriate word here; we all would be pleased to see a third fight between the little warriors. Promoter Bob Arum is talking about staging Pacquiao-Marquez at the new Cowboys stadium, which is a reasonably exciting prospect. At the same time, Marquez is the least intriguing of Pacquiao’s three best options – Mayweather, Mosley and Marquez. The drubbing Marquez took against Mayweather put an end to the Mexican’s considerable momentum entering the fight, even with the size difference in mind. I, for one, am not quite as interested in seeing him fight as I was before he met Mayweather.
BIGGEST LOSER II
Puerto Rico: I always call the proud Caribbean nation the pound-for-pound king of boxing because of the inordinate number of quality fighters it produces. Things haven’t gone well lately, though. Some background, as related by reader Enrique Fernandez Roberts: The country has it’s share of problems, from devastating hurricanes to economic woes to rampant corruption. It depends on its boxers to uplift the people. Thus, when its top fighter is beaten down like Cotto was, it hurts. And another Puerto Rican, Daniel Santos, once deemed a can’t-miss, also lost his title on the card. Even up-and-comer Juan Manuel Lopez struggled in his most-recent bout. To be sure, though, the island fighters will bounce back. They always do.
Yuri Foreman: Pacquiao wasn’t the only fighter to make history on Saturday night. Foreman became the first Israeli to win a major title when he took Daniel Santos’ junior middleweight belt by a one-sided decision. Israel, a country of only about 7.5 million, is focused primarily on survival in a hostile region but does love its sports. Soccer and basketball are huge there. So something like this, one of its own winning a world title and then wrapping himself in the Israeli flag, must’ve been a source of tremendous pride there. And this might just be the start for Foreman. He’s a very good boxer and tougher than people realize. He doesn’t have an exciting style but it’s one that might allow him to remain a titleholder for some time.
BIGGEST LOSER III
Daniel Santos: Some observers once believed that the 1996 Olympic bronze medalist from Puerto Rico would turn out to be better than countryman Felix Trinidad. It didn’t turn out that way. Santos had a fine professional career, winning three major titles. However, the once blazing-quick, explosive puncher never quite realized his vast potential because he apparently wasn’t as dedicated to the sport as he should’ve been. RingTV.com co-editor Doug Fischer pointed out that Santos was never the same after Kofi Jantuah scored an upset by stopping him in five rounds in 1999. He remained good enough to win his titles but never approached stardom. He’ll probably be remembered as an underachiever.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.: Chavez’s coming out party in front of a large international audience fell flat. He easily outpointed Troy Rowland but the fight was painfully dull and he probably should’ve been able to put a fighter as mediocre as Rowland away. No one was impressed. Arum wants Chavez to fight John Duddy next, possibly on the undercard of Pacquiao’s next fight. I think he’d lose to the Irishman, which could mean he would go back to being an attraction only among Mexicans. That’s probably where Chavez belongs.
Freddie Roach: “You’re not ordinary,” Roach said after profoundly modest Pacquiao used that word to describe himself. Amen, Freddie.
Michael Rosenthal can be reached at RingTVeditor@yahoo.com